"An ever present help in trouble."-Psalms 46:1
Along with the Processional song "A Mighty Fortress"," Concordia University welcomed new faculty and staff to campus on August 30, 2012. Professors glided in in their traditional robes that are only brought out for special occasions such as these and all student leaders followed in behind to be seated in the front rows. After the first song a reading was done by two students and the University's new chaplain. The school's theme was confidence in the Lord for the upcoming year but to also remind all the members of the University that as humans, all are in great need of the Lord. President Ries reinforced the message deciphered the roots of the words refuge and strength. He translated them from Latin (meaning hope), Spanish (meaning help), Hebrew (meaning to flee), and Greek (meaning safe harbor). The president then spoke about the book of the year , Picking Cotton (which the honors students have to read during Christmas Break so stay tuned for a deciphering of that). The president tried to engage the students and perk their interest so that they might want to read the book, but went too far and gave away the ending and most of the juicy details.
This ceremony is done to recognize the new school year of 2012-2013 and welcome all the new members of the Concordia Family. Few people outside the Concordia family fully realize what a special opportunity it is. From the outside, the school seems like every other religious private university with high tuition and small campus. When involved in the daily activities a student or teacher gets the opportunity to experience the joy of being surrounded by fellow believers in Christ, experience several different cultures, and create relationships with an outstanding number of people. Concordia is also a gateway to the ultimate refuge that is needed in this world. The honors program at Concordia has also been in the position of being over looked or misjudged by people that are not members. People see the honors and get scared off by the stories of complex projects and long night classes, but what people are failing to realize is that the honors class is just a smaller version of the overall experience of Concordia. The honors program takes the diversity of campus and combines it to an even smaller family. This family helps students build their strength and trust in the ultimate refuge, the Lord. This program may be difficult but through the various challenges given, the honors program creates individuals who are self-reliant and aware of their dependence for a family and an all loving Father.
As a returning student, I came to campus this year with more confidence and less nerves. Knowing the small campus like the back of my hand and being able to recognize faculty and other students is almost enough to make me believe that my mindset and determination will be the only strength I need to get through the year. The opening ceremony was an unexpected jolt back to reality. I realized that I was making a big mistake, one that I had made as freshmen. In this time of comfort I was leaning away from the strength of the Lord and telling Him that I could handle myself, but at the first sign of trouble I would race back to his side. I instead needed to realize that my growth in the Lord had to be a consistent relationship with Him, with no racing back and forth. Only in this way could I have the unlimited future that the Lord has planned for me. In the short term hopefully that means a good year at Concordia!